FF91 image via Faraday Future
Written by David Castellon
Struggling startup electric car manufacturer Faraday Future may have a white knight to save it from its most recent financial peril.
The news came from a posting three days ago on the Linkedin account of Patrick De Potter, a former Tesla Motors executive and current CEO of Netherlands-based EVA.IO, stating, “EVAIO has made contact with Faraday Future to invest 900 million USD over three years via indirect STO.”
An STO, or “security token offering” essentially is a way for businesses to offer shares of stock in the form of “tokens” that a recipient could sell on the crypto currency market, similar to the way Bitcoin and other digital currencies are traded. But the tokens are backed by the assets of the issuing company.
De Potter’s posting goes on to say, “FF and EVA.IO will now start up the discussion for the details of the plan,” with no further information offered in the post.
EVA.IO launched earlier this year as a digital system that could be installed in electric cars that gathers driving data and offers the owners tokens to market that data, according to Nasdaq.com.
If the offer from the European company is valid, it comes at a crucial time for Faraday, which had intended to start regular production of cars out of its first plant in Hanford – a renovated former tire plant – early next year.
But those plans seem up in the air now, as in recent weeks the company has engaged in a feud with a major investor that put $800 million into FF late last year – a time when the company also was severely strapped for cash – and had committed to invest $1.2 billion more over several years.
Now FF officials are looking to break ties with that investor, with the car company claiming a payment of $300 million due Aug. 1 and $200 million due Oct. 31 weren’t made, according to documents filed with the U.S. District Court, Central Division, in Los Angeles.
It goes on to accuse the investor, Season Smart, now a division of Chinese health and real estate conglomerate Evergrande Health Industry Group, Ltd., of holding back the money as a means of “starving” FF of capital it needs to force it into bankruptcy so the investor can seize control of the company’s assets and intellectual property.
Evergrande, has accused FF’s CEO, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting – who originally bankrolled the electric car venture but had to allow in new investors after running into his own financial problems – of trying to deny its investor rights.
Without those added funds from Season Smart, FF has had to lay off an undisclosed number of workers in the Central Valley and Gardena and cut the pay of those still working, all before line production of the company’s planned luxury cars has even begun.
When asked about De Potter’s offer, John Schilling, an FF spokesman, said via email that “we are speaking with a number of potential investors, but nothing has been made yet. We have no further comment on this potential deal with EVA.IO.”